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Butler, Spiers Pace Offense for #10 R-MC Baseball vs. #1 SU

Jeffrey Butler at bat
Jeffrey Butler at bat

ASHLAND, Va. – Sophomore Jeff Butler (Chesapeake, Va./Western Branch) had a two-run double in the third and junior Rick Spiers (South Chesterfield, Va./Matoaca) tied the game in the eighth with his fourth home run of the season as the 10th-ranked Randolph-Macon baseball team was edged 5-4 in 11 innings by top-ranked Shenandoah Friday afternoon in ODAC action on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.

The Yellow Jackets moved to 24-9 overall and 12-5 in the ODAC.

The Hornets (30-3, 13-3) scored the eventual game-winner in the top of the 11th with two away on a bad-hop single over the first baseman's head and a misplayed fly ball that fell for a double.

SU had multiple chances to score early, but freshman starter Matthew Nickles (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) was able to work out of trouble. The Hornets loaded the bases with one away in the first, but a nifty 4-3 double play started by Butler thwarted the threat. SU had a leadoff single in the second, but Nickles helped turn a 1-4-3 DP to erase the runner. The Hornets had runners on the corners with no outs and bases loaded with one away in the third, but a force out at the plate and a groundout kept the game scoreless.

R-MC started the scoring in the third. Junior Joseph Tuzzolo (Newport News, Va./Menchville) had a leadoff single and was sacrificed to second by junior Ian Pape (Stafford, Va./North Stafford). Freshman Zach Evans (Fort Mill, S.C./Seneca) was hit by a pitch before both runners scored on a two-out double by Butler to give the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead.

The Hornets plated four with two away in the fifth to take a 4-2 advantage.

The Yellow Jackets pulled within one in the seventh as Tuzzolo walked, moved to second on a fielder's choice and scored on a single by Evans to make it a 4-3 game. Spiers went deep to left with one away in the eighth to level the score at 4-4.

SU threatened in the ninth, putting two on with one away. Freshman centerfielder Ryan Duphorn (Erial, N.J./Paul VI) went a long way to make a diving catch in right center and collided with the right fielder. Both runners advanced, thinking the ball had dropped, and R-MC was able to record the 8-4-2-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Junior Devin Strickler (York, Pa./Eastern York) had a leadoff single in the bottom of the ninth and was sacrificed to second, but was stranded there. Senior Stuart Brown (Midlothian, Va./Trinity) ripped a leadoff double in the bottom of the 11th and was sacrificed to third, but a pair of strikeouts left the tying run at third.

Brown and junior Cole Migliorini (Stafford, Va./Colonial Forge) both had two hits, while Tuzzolo scored twice for the Yellow Jackets.

Randolph-Macon and Shenandoah will conclude their two-game on Saturday, April 22 at 11 a.m. on Hugh Stephens Field at Estes Park.